Profiles of main tech parks, accelerators, hackathons

In 2001 Iran had only one technology park. In order to diversify the economy from oil and gas, in 2010 this number rose to 28. In 2010 Iran had 98 technological incubators for enterprises. In 2015 the authorities of the Islamic Republic gave the equivalent of €8bn for technology parks: 68 percent of this amount has been used to finance them, while 32 percent were given as infrastructures and equipment. By the end of 2015, 3,223 companies were hosted in science and technology parks: 427 in Tehran and 343 in Isfahan.

In 2018, there were 39 science and technology parks: 7 in the Tehran region, followed by Isfahan, Semnan, Hormozgan with 2 each. There are 180 technological incubators for enterprises currently active in Iran. Amongst them, 30 science and technology parks are members of IASP, the International Association of Science Parks which Iran joined in 2003. IASP is the largest worldwide network of science parks and areas of innovation, it connects the professionals managing science, technology and research parks and other areas of innovation and provide services that drive growth and effectiveness for the members. In summer 2018 the Hotel Abbasi in Isfahan hosted the 35th edition of IASP world conference, attracting students, academics and professionals of the field.

Pardis technological park is the only one owned by the presidency of the Islamic Republic. It has the highest budget and in the current year (ending 21 March 2019) it received 143.277m Iranian Rial (€7.2m) as well as IRR 54.216m (€2.7m) in infrastructures. The tech park in Kermanshah and the one in Elborz belong to the organisation of the University Jihad. All the others are owned by universities and ministries.

Regarding accelerators, Tac is a startup accelerator and seed venture fund with a local focus and global vision, and an emphasis on diversity. Each selected startup receives an investment of up to US$15,000 in return for a 15 percent equity stake. Avatech is a startup accelerator that provides entrepreneurs with mentorship, entrepreneurial training, seed funding and a creative workspace through Avacamp and Accelerator. Owned by its CEO Fred Korangy, Maps is the first private support centre for technologists and entrepreneurs in MENA Region offering support for the development of an ecosystem that promotes innovation and independence for young professionals in the high-tech sector.

On 27 January 2016 Hackarestan held its first hackathon with the subject of “innovation in education” targeting Iran’s 4 million school students. Its aims was to impact on Iran’s educational system by providing a platform for Iranian talent to come up with innovative educational methods based on technology. On 18-20 May 2016 the first health hackathon of Iran was created in southern Iran by the Campus of Abadan of the University of Medical Sciences.